Date: 6th February 2008 at 1:58pm
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Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish has spoken of his disappointment of not being able to sign Georgian international midfielder Levan Tskitishvili during last month’s transfer window.

Tskitishvili, who has won 53 caps for his country, was refused a work permit and the club eventually decided not to lodge an appeal with the Home Office against the FA’s decision.

McLeish also claimed that a lawyer had told him that an appeal had a good chance of succeeding, but focussing all attention on what happens on the pitch is the priority at the moment – and a priority that the club can not afford to be distracted from.

McLeish told the club’s official site: “It was disappointing not to be granted a work permit for a player that is at the peak of his career, it was a bit of naivety on the part of the people who sit on the tribunal panel.

“They judged the case on the FIFA standings and prejudiced that against the quality of the player. He would have enhanced our team. We are looking to stay in the Premier League and we need players of quality to help us.

“We could have opened up a can of worms and gone to the Home Office and taken it further. But we decided that we didn’t need the sideshow when we have this important run-in coming up. I believe we had a case and I’ve spoken to a lawyer and he believes we would have had a case as well.”

Martin O’Neill also suffered work permit problems of his own at Aston Villa. American goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who currently plays for Chivas in the MLS, was refused a permit. Villa are thought to be considering another attempt to sign the 23-year-old United States international in the summer.